Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nice and Strong - The Paul deLay Band

Paul Joseph deLay (January 31, 1952 – March 7, 2007), was an American blues vocalist and harmonicist from Portland, Oregon.
Paul deLay was born January 31, 1952 in Portland, Oregon.

His musical career started in the early 1970s with a band called "Brown Sugar", which played numerous West Coast gigs. In 1976, he and guitarist Jim Mesi formed the Paul deLay Blues Band, which performed well into the 1980s. The band also recorded several albums during that time.

By the late 1980s, deLay was suffering from alcohol and cocaine addiction. In 1990, he was arrested for drug trafficking, and served a 41-month prison sentence. While he was incarcerated, his band continued without him, performing as the "No deLay Band" and featuring longtime Portland blueswoman Linda Hornbuckle as lead vocalist in lieu of deLay. Upon his release from prison, deLay (now clean and sober) rejoined the band and recorded a series of critically acclaimed albums.

In 2002 deLay assembled the final version of his band, with David Vest sharing lead vocals and playing piano, Peter Dammann on guitar, and Jeff Minnick and Dave Kahl on drums and bass. A live CD featuring this lineup was released in 2007, entering the Top Ten on Billboard's national blues chart.

Paul deLay continued touring and recording until his final illness. In March 2007, after returning to Portland from a gig in Klamath Falls, Oregon, deLay felt ill and sought medical treatment. It was discovered that he was suffering from end-stage leukemia; he soon lapsed into a coma from which he would not recover. He died in Portland on March 7, 2007, aged 55. Memorial concerts in Portland and Seattle attracted large audiences.
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